January 17 — March 13, 2020
The Print Center is pleased to present solo exhibitions of new work by Miguel A. Aragón (born Ciudad Juárez, México; lives Staten Island, NY), Young Sun Han (born Evanston, IL; lives Brooklyn, NY) and Ron Tarver (born Fort Gibson, OK; lives Philadelphia, PA). These artists were selected from more than 500 international artists who applied to our 94th ANNUAL International Competition. The jurors were Charlotte Cotton, Curator-in-Residence, California Museum of Photography, Riverside and Gretchen Wagner, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Saint Louis Art Museum.
Miguel A. Aragón: Indices of Silence/Índices del silencio
Aragón's heroic-sized prints address the war on drugs unfolding in his hometown of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Using innovative print techniques, such as cutting woodblocks and paper with an industrial-grade hand drill, he creates gripping portraits that humanize the victims of this violence.
A Closer Look at Retrato No. 18 (Cobre), 2019
One of the more recent prints in Aragón’s ongoing series about the Mexican war on drugs, Retrato No. 18 (Cobre) is a portrait made by spraying copper paint through a stencil that he hand drilled. The work references the Mexican idiom “Estas sacando el cobre,” which literally translates as “to take out the copper — an equivalent of the English-language idiom “to show your true colors.” According to the artist, the copper color also abstractly references skin color. Retrato No. 18 (Cobre) sends a powerful message about the politics of ethnicity and class within the already fraught Mexican war on drugs.
'Violence in Ciudad Juárez: An artist’s response,' AL DÍA, Emily Neil, February 2020 pdf
Video interview with Miguel A. Aragón, Philatinos Radio, Leticia Roa Nixon, January 2020 Facebook
Click to view exhibition images. Images are courtesy of the artist unless otherwise noted.
Young Sun Han: The Unforever Parallel
Approaching loss from both personal and collective points of view, Han explores his family narratives through the geopolitical history of North and South Korea in the 20th century. He traces the immigrant experience across the 38th parallel north (the border between these two countries). His photo-based installations poetically depict the places rooted in these histories.
A Closer Look at Jeju Naval Base (Erasure), 2019
Jeju Island is famous not only for its picturesque volcanic landscape but also its history as the site of the Jeju uprising, a Communist rebellion in 1948 that resulted in the massacre of 14,000-30,000 people on the island. Jeju Naval Base (Erasure) reflects on the tensions between locals and the military by picturing the ramparts of the island’s controversial naval base. Technically forbidden to photograph the structure, Han literally erased its presence from his photographic print using sandpaper. This physical act of defacement parallels the violence inflicted on the island’s people during the twentieth century.
Click to view exhibition images. Images are courtesy of the artists unless otherwise noted.
Ron Tarver: An Overdue Conversation With My Father
Tarver reimagines the African American experience in the United States under Jim Crow, as interpreted through the lens of his father Richard Tarver, a photographer who captured this community in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma during the 1940s and 50s. By looking back at his father’s archive and appropriating its imagery, Tarver reworks them to reflect on the deep history of the tight-knit African American community in Fort Gibson, re-presenting its triumphs and tribulations.
The Artist would like to thank the Independence Foundation for its support of the creation of this work.
A Closer Look at The Test, 2019
Tarver appropriates portraits from his father’s archive using a variety of techniques. For example, The Test is a laser-printed photograph on brown paper. Its materiality refers to infamous “brown paper bag test,” a standard of comparison used to judge an individual based on the color of her skin. Originally used by salve owners to demarcate lighter skinned people as more valuable, the test is said to be have been adopted after emancipation by African American communities to establish hierarchies within professional and social circles, such as historically Black colleges and churches. It would have been a popular but unspoken practice in the 1940s and ’50, when Tarver’s father took the original photograph.
‘These are the Philly art gallery shows you’ll want to check out this spring,’ The Philadelphia Inquirer, Edith Newhall, February 2020 pdf
'Fort Gibson native's photos part of international exhibition,' Muskogee Phoenix, Cathy Spaulding, January 2020 pdf
PAST EXHIBITION RELATED PROGRAMMING + EVENTS
Gallery Talks with the Artists and Curator + Opening Reception
The Print Center
Thursday, January 16, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Gallery Talk: 5:30pm
Opening Reception: 6:00 – 7:30pm
Artist Talk with Young Sun Han
Thursday, February 6, 6:30pm
Artist Talk with Ron Tarver
Thursday, February 20, 6:00pm
Artist Talk with Miguel A. Aragón
Cancelled due to COVID-19
Thursday, March 19, 6:00pm